Amendment + Walmart would snarl Midtown traffic, say critics

By | June 18th, 2012 | 17 Comments
Walmart Loading Zone

A proposed amendment to permit above-ground service loading in Midtown may reignite the Midtown Walmart debate.

At a meeting on Wednesday, the City of Miami’s Planning, Zoning, and Appeals Board (PZAB) will consider a proposed amendment to the Midtown Miami master plan that would permit service access and service loading along North Miami Avenue south of 34th Street — exactly where Walmart is planning to build its first Miami store.

Update: PZAB deferred its consideration of the amendment until Wednesday, July 18, at 6 p.m., at City Hall in Coconut Grove (3500 Pan American Drive).

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Walmart de Mexico scandal rocks retail giant

By | April 24th, 2012 | 4 Comments

Will the Walmart de Mexico scandal affect Walmart's plans to open its first Miami location? -- photo by Josh Haner/The New York Times

With Walmart trying to garner local support for a proposed two-story store in Midtown, which would be its first Miami location, the retail giant is dealing with the fallout from a hard-hitting, 8,000-word New York Times story on alleged widespread corruption in Mexico.

Update: “In Los Angeles, a Wal-Mart building permit is getting a once-over. In New York, the City Council is investigating a possible land deal with the retailer’s developer in Brooklyn. A state senator in California is pushing for a formal audit of a proposed Wal-Mart in San Diego. And in Boston and its suburbs, residents are pressuring politicians to disclose whether they have received contributions from the company.” — from “Wal-Mart’s U.S. Expansion Plans Complicated by Bribery Scandal” (NYT, 4/31/12)

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Grill Walmart: The retail giant answers your questions

By | April 10th, 2012 | 14 Comments
"How May I Help You?" by Robby Campbell

Walmart answers 10 of your questions about its plan to open its first Miami location. -- illustration by Robby Campbell

On March 29, we gave you the opportunity to grill Walmart on its controversial plan to open its first location in the City of Miami, a two-story store in Midtown, and scores of you took the opportunity to be heard in the form of post comments, emails, tweets, and Facebook postings.

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Grill Walmart: The retail giant is fielding your questions

By | March 29th, 2012 | 18 Comments
"How May I Help You?" by Robby Campbell

Got questions about Walmart's plan to open its first Miami location? The retail giant is at your service. -- illustration by Robby Campbell

Walmart’s plan to open its first City of Miami location, a two-story store in Midtown, has sparked contentious debate between people who see it as a threat to an emerging neighborhood and others who see it as a boon to residents who will benefit from easy access to inexpensive goods and new jobs. With so much at stake, Beached Miami, which has been leading the local media with its coverage of the Midtown Walmart debate, asked the retail giant if it would field questions from our readers. To its credit, Walmart agreed to be grilled.

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Park may hinder construction of Midtown Walmart (by design?)

By | March 27th, 2012 | 7 Comments

There’s a new twist in the debate over Walmart and the future of Midtown Miami.

A developer opposed to the store opening in the neighborhood, Alex Vadia, has submitted to the City of Miami a preliminary design for “Mpark”, a new urban park to be located on a narrow strip of land on Midtown Boulevard near N.E. 29th Street. The location is significant: The park’s plan includes property that Walmart had planned to use to build the entrance for a parking garage with space for 650 cars.

MPark Rendering
A preliminary rendering of MPark

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Major Midtown landowners clash over Walmart

By | March 22nd, 2012 | 4 Comments
Walmart via istockphoto

Two major Midtown landowners are battling over a proposed Walmart for the retail district. -- photo via istockphoto

The development company that owns Midtown Shops allegedly threatened to use an unorthodox legal tactic as part of its effort to bring Walmart to Midtown, one that the opposing lawyer called “distasteful” in a letter submitted to the City of Miami. That same letter also gives a hint of the legal and city code issues that could decide if the store is ever built or not.

The letter (in full below) is from Midtown Opportunities, a company managed by Alex Vadia that owns undeveloped land in Midtown and is opposed to Walmart’s plans to build a store in the neighborhood. The letter presents two key arguments:

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Fox News zeroing in on Midtown Walmart story

By | March 6th, 2012 | 1 Comment

Fox News is requesting interviews with people involved in the Midtown Walmart debate.

The Midtown Walmart story might be getting the Fox News treatment.

A booker with the weekend edition of the show Fox & Friends has been reaching out to people involved in the issue, including anti-Walmart petitioner Grant Stern, to set up interviews.

Also likely to be on their list: Alicia Coker, who started a Facebook group on Monday called “Bring Walmart to Midtown” that, as of noon on Tuesday, March 6, has 21 members.

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Despite setback, Walmart to move forward in Midtown [UPDATED]

By | February 29th, 2012 | 8 Comments
Walmart via istockphoto

The company that wants to bring Walmart to Midtown has hit a road block with the City of Miami planning director. -- photo via istockphoto

Update #2: Walmart’s plans to open its first City of Miami location may have hit a snag with the city’s planning department Tuesday (see below), but the retail giant is nonetheless going forward with plans for a store in Midtown and is working on new plans to submit to the city, as well as a more robust community outreach effort. We will have more soon. For now, here’s the official statement from Steve Restivo, Walmart’s senior director of community affairs:

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Midtown developer asks city to reject Walmart zoning request

By | February 28th, 2012 | 3 Comments
Walmart Loading Zone

A Midtown developer is pushing back against what would be Miami's first Walmart.

Walmart’s plans to move to Midtown Miami may have just met their first organized and funded opposition. What seemed to be shaping up as a debate between community groups, residents, and business owners has reached another scale: Now, it’s developer versus developer.

The neighborhood’s newest big stake holder, Midtown Opportunities, has contracted the powerful law firm Holland and Knight in an effort to persuade the City of Miami to reject the zoning changes being requested by Walmart and Diversified Development Reality (DDR), the current owner of the land where Walmart’s Midtown store would be built.

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Opinion: The City of Miami should reject Walmart zoning request

By | February 14th, 2012 | 2 Comments

This opinion piece is part of an ongoing Open Media Miami series about the proposed Walmart in Midtown. Open Media Miami is a community news partner of Beached Miami for coverage of Wynwood, Midtown, and the Biscayne Corridor.

Walmart’s affect on communities may be a subject of debate, but its disregard for Midtown Miami’s Master Plan is not in question. Walmart wants to place a major loading zone at the intersection of Midtown’s main streets. Midtown Mall owner DDR Corp., which is selling the southwest corner of Midtown Miami to Walmart, has requested those changes and more from the City of Miami as a parting gift.

Walmart’s request that the city waive zoning restrictions, which was submitted to City of Miami Planning Director Francisco Garcia by DDR Corp.’s attorney, show a massive loading dock fronting Midtown Boulevard, as well as a raised concrete divider in the middle of the road to protect the trucks from N.E. 30th Street traffic. They also call for a five-lane intersection at N.E. 29th Street and Midtown Boulevard to accommodate big rigs and significantly increased auto traffic.

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